Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Labour manifesto represents ‘risk to devolution’ – Rhun ap Iorwerth

16 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Rhun ap Iorwerth at the launch of Plaid Cymru’s manifesto last week

Labour’s general election manifesto represents a “risk to devolution itself” Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has said, ahead of an interview with Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC this morning.

The Plaid leader also blasted the manifesto for having “a complete disregard towards Wales” and says that Labour in Wales is powerless under Keir Starmer.

His comments come after Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens indicated that under a Labour UK government, Westminster will partly control post-Brexit funds, despite Keir Starmer previously pledging to restore decision-making to the Welsh Government.

‘Commitment’

Vaughan Gething’s manifesto for the Welsh Labour leadership stated that he had secured a “commitment” by Keir Starmer to return the powers to Cardiff, while Ms Stevens had previously criticised the Conservatives for “bypassing devolved competences” on post-EU funds in 2022.

Mr Gething’s manifesto also criticised the HS2 project’s ‘England-and-Wales’ classification and called for fair funding to be allocated to Wales and supported the devolution of justice and policing powers, stating that it was “established Welsh Labour policy”.

None of these policies were included in the UK Labour manifesto published on Thursday (13 June).

Powerless

Mr ap Iorwerth said: “Labour’s manifesto proves that the party in Wales is powerless under Keir Starmer.

“The complete disregard towards Wales shown in Labour’s programme for government exposes both Welsh Labour’s lack of influence and the UK Leader’s lack of ambition.

“There is nothing on devolving the Crown Estate, nothing on HS2 consequentials for Wales, and nothing on the devolution of justice and policing – all policies supported by Labour in Wales.

“To add insult to injury, Keir Starmer’s representative in Wales has confirmed that Wales’ post Brexit cash will still be controlled by Westminster.

“It’s an astonishing U-turn by Jo Stevens who not so long ago recognised that regional aid was a fully devolved competence. Now she’s backing the Tories’ power grab.

“Hot on the heels of calling a Senedd vote of no confidence in the Labour First Minister a gimmick, it appears that Labour’s manifesto is the biggest gimmick of all.

“Plaid Cymru has been clear and consistent in making the case for Wales to have a greater say over its own affairs.

“Many Labour politicians in Wales agree with us, but it seems that their words fall on deaf ears at their party HQ in London.

“This represents a risk not just to Wales’s interests but to devolution itself.

“Keir Starmer must understand that ignoring his Welsh colleagues is tantamount to undermining the principle that Wales has its own parliament and its own voice.

“It’s high time the Tories were kicked out of power after 14 years of destructive policies, but we must also ask who speaks for Wales within Labour.”

Reneged 

The Shadow Welsh Secretary has denied that the Labour leader had reneged on the promise made at the Welsh Labour conference last year that Wales would have control over its “economic destiny”.

Ms Stevens told the BBC on Friday that the policy is, “…exactly the same as Keir Starmer said in the Welsh Labour conference”.

“Both the UK government and Welsh government under the old EU funding… had a role. It’s not a binary choice, one or the other, she added.

Asked if control will go fully to the Welsh government, she said: “No, as I said, it’s not a binary choice.

“It’s changed from the current circumstances where the Welsh government has absolutely no say in how the Shared Prosperity Funds are delivered in Wales.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
28 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ron Puma
Ron Puma
1 month ago

Written constitution now.

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Puma

No no no.

Ron Puma
Ron Puma
1 month ago

Why not?

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Puma

Gives the judiciary too much power and removes power from elected officials.

Ron Puma
Ron Puma
1 month ago

Why do you trust politicians with all the power?

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Puma

Devolution would not have been possible with a written constitution it was created by politicians. Who is going to write your written constitutions, the fairies.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Puma

You trust Labour to write up a constitution that benefits all members of this union???

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Scotland only has the powers it has, because of the SNP presence in Westminster, and as a “sweetener ” to dissuade independence. We have nothing, because we lack the voice the SNP give Scotland, as both Labour and Tory’s here are unionist parties, and lack of indy party MP’s gives us little leverage in Westminster. Until this changes, we will continue to lose out.

John Ellis
John Ellis
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Not quite the case, because by the time Scotland and England were finally fully integrated as a consequence of the 1707 Act of Union – previously the situation was that of two significantly separate nations sharing a single monarch – Scotland had evolved some relatively modern institutions, especially in respect of education and the law. The Act of Union made no thoroughgoing attempt to assimilate those Scottish institutions with those which then prevailed in England. One consequence was that when, in the early 19th century, something akin to modern police forces came to be created, those in Scotland were organized… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  John Ellis

If that is the case, why were the crown estates devolved to Scoland in 2017, in 2005 the railways act gave greater power to Scotland over the rail network , these are only 2 things England controlled until recently, and Scotland also has to have English permission to hold a Indy referendum , without the SNP exerting influence, the above and many other things would be under Westminster controll, just look up ” reserved matters” to see what the devolved Govs are allowed or not,to do.

John Ellis
John Ellis
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Because the precedent is that Scotland has always had a degree of autonomy greater than has been the case in respect of Wales. The Tories, even these days, retain a certain reverence for the historic status quo, and Scotland has historically always retained a greater degree of autonomy than has been the case in respect of Wales. So, in regards of Scotland, they haven’t thus far seriously challenged such autonomy as Scotland has for centuries long possessed. But you can bet that they’ll resist expanding Scottish autonomy any further, and also that they’ll seek to obstruct any initiatives in Wales… Read more »

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Yes of course, there is a precedent of greater powers for Scotland but that is only because they entered into an Act of Union by consent and we did not.

This precedent was created by blood and conquest over 700 years ago. Does not mean that we should blindly accept the current settlement and not continue to press for greater powers or full autonomy. In fact, given the direction the UK is heading in, we have a greater imperative to do so.

Scotland has managed to claw back further powers through the SNP despite centuries of “precedent”.

Last edited 1 month ago by SundanceKid
John Ellis
John Ellis
1 month ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

‘This precedent was created by blood and conquest over 700 years ago. Does not mean that we should blindly accept the current settlement and not continue to press for greater powers …’ Absolutely. And during the Drakeford years – to my surprise; I didn’t expect it when he first became FM – I did feel that there was a government in Cardiff Bay which had some commitment to doing that. Whereas Gething – and Jo Stevens too – already come over to me primarily as Westminster Labour apparatchiks. The nomination of Labour candidates in Cardiff West and Swansea West has rather… Read more »

Gwyn Hopkins
1 month ago

    After the July 4th General Election 84% of MPs will represent constituencies in England with virtually all (including Keir Starmer) having a profound imperialist/colonialist attitude towards Wales. Moreover, all the “British” parties represented at Westminster will have over 80% of English MPs. With the governing party having such a massive majority of English MPs, Wales will be very firmly in their control for the next 5 years and beyond.  Therefore, significant further devolution to Wales is essentially a non-starter, as Labour’s manifesto demonstrates.     

Elaine
Elaine
1 month ago

‘Nullify devolution’ is a phrase which has been going through my head ever since hearing that the reworking of council tax and alteration of school hours had been ‘postponed’ as soon as Gething took over.
There was a pledge of strengthening the effect of Legislative Consent. I have become cynical enough to think that that’s because Starmer’s team know they can control the Senedd and expect to do the same in Holyrood after May 2026.
But at least we can look forward to having
a national forest…

Alan Jones
Alan Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine

I agree with you Elaine, but I’d go further, along with my reply to Gwern Gwynfil a short while back on this site regarding the imposition by Labour HQ of their people from England as election candidates in Cymru. To my mind Labour have lost interest in devolution & intend to hollow out the devolution settlement through control of the Senedd as they see it as an obstacle to the one nation state ideology they continuously espouse. Starmer continuously U turns on his pledges etc & cannot be trusted & now has shadow cabinet members (Jo Stevens in this case)… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Jones

I do not think the Labour Party in any form will give up on centralised state control. They are actually similar to the Tories as their policies will always promote monopolisation of wealth and power in central oligarchs whether state or private.

We must have decentralised egalitarian market economic system – where people will really own, control and benefit from ownership of wealth production, in the form of dividends.

This is the system that Wales, and all other independent country should inspire to promote.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ernie The Smallholder
Howie
Howie
1 month ago

I think it is a longer term strategy for Labour UK, changes brought about by the change in selection and numbers for the next Senedd election, they may think the wind of change to Labour in Wales is more robust than Labour Wales would like to admit and see these has areas they would need to still control whoever is the largest block in Wales in 2026.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

I totally echo Rhun ap Iorwerth sentiment that Labour’s manifesto is a threat to devolution. Would Keir Starmer treat Scotland or England as they do Wales. Simple answer. No. The disrespect shown towards the country that bloody invented the NHS which they claim as a jewel in their crown angers me no end. This cannot be allowed. Either we stand up, unite and fight , or lay down and die. A Welsh Labour executive led by FM Vaughan Gething, a man of questionable character, serves no purpose. To basically allow UK Labour to renege on their promise to return power… Read more »

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Labour are going to win and there is nothing in the world that Plaid can do about it.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
1 month ago

In that case we might as well stick with the Tories,Liebour will just be a different Jockey on the same Horse

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
1 month ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

I am only stating a fact.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Sad but true. I don’t think it will take long for these columns to echo with the recognition that the Labour government hierarchy will be just as full of two faced lying barstewards as its predecessors and the useless Bay regime will happily do their bidding. Maybe we’ll conclude that Deceit Davies was not so bad after all !

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

Where is the outrage from Welsh Labour ASau and members?

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

There is none. This is the true face of “Welsh” Labour abd always has been. It’s just that we are now seeing their true colours.

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago

On the other hand, what do we do with devolved powers? Give companies from outside Wales money and planning permission to wreck the place. Like this highlighted by the Daily Post: Proposal outside North Wales tourism attraction part of wider transformation to ‘world class’ site (msn.com) £19m to build a bigger toilet block in a car park – oh and a venue. I was in this car park on a village excursion just last week. It was a beautiful day. There were no queues for the toilets. The Slate Museum was free to go in, so no need for a… Read more »

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.